Vinny Might Like Eggplant Parm

By Pam Dillon

In case you missed it, Brian died in a hit-and-run while playing road hockey.  That’s right, Seth MacFarlane and company killed off the dog – and Stewie’s best friend – on the T.V. show Family Guy.

Now, as a mother, I object to Family Guy.  It’s crass, sexist, racist and a few other “ists” rolled into a whole lot of bigotry and cheap jokes that devalue and diminish people.  Ugh.

I also live in a household with males who are old enough to make their own viewing choices. Many times, they’ve chosen to watch Family Guy.  And I have to admit that on more than one occasion, while passing the room, I’ve stopped and laughed.

Yesterday, on YouTube, we watched the Griffin family weep at the death of their beloved dog. I can certainly relate to that.  We also saw a clip of the Griffins at a pet shop looking for a new furry family member. Yup. That scenario hits home too.

And when a dog with a gravelly voice piped up and started talking to Peter yesterday, well, what can I say?

It was wise guy-dog Vinny, with the voice of Tony Sirico, who played Paulie the Italian mobster in The Sopranos series. (Another one of those shows not designed for the younger set or polite company.)

Still, there are loyal Sopranos fans in these parts, so in honour of the new pooch and “membro della famiglia” here’s a recipe for Eggplant Parmigiana straight from The Sopranos Family Cookbook. (It’s good. Really!)

Eggplant Parm

2 large eggplants

Salt and pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

2½ cups tomato-based pasta sauce

8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Trim the eggplant and cut into ¼ inch slices. Layer the slices in colanders, sprinkle with salt and let drain for 30 minutes.  Then rinse and pat dry.  In large pans, add a bit of oil and brown the slices on both sides.  You’ll have to do this in batches.  Drain on paper towels.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in a large, shallow baking pan.  Make a layer of eggplant slices, overlapping them slightly. Top with a layer of mozzarella, another layer of sauce and a sprinkle of grated cheese. Repeat the layering, ending with grated cheese

Bake uncovered until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let stand before serving.

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